Lesson Quick Links

I wish I had all the time in the world to explore and create all kinds of neat and quick ways to do amazing things in the world of digital art, but the simple fact is, I don’t.  My time is very limited but I still want really big and impressive results when I do my work.  I want my illustrations and presentation of them to be it’s very best.  Knowing where to find tools that help me save time and provide quality results for myself and my clients is a priceless investment to me.

Having said that, you’ll need to decide for yourself when buying a nice plug-in is a worthwhile investment for you based off of your own freelance objectives. To me, if I use a great plug-in to help me display my designs better, I believe I am more likely to get more jobs and make a better overall income for them.  So, if I can afford a plug-in that gives me the best presentation possible, I usually get it.

As I see it, it is much easier to sell a product or service if a customer or potential client can visualize the finished results, or perhaps a project that is similar to what they are wanting, whether it be a T-shirt design, mug, website banner, the list could go on and on.  So I use mock-ups to help me display my digital art more professionally.

For example if you create a design that is good for a CD cover, it would be wise to either take a professional picture of the finished CD cover in its case or to use a professional mock-up illustration showing the cover design on a CD mockup (fake photo in a CD cover).  There are some amazing tools that enable you to put your flat design into their plug-in and it will generate a 3D CD case for you in only a few moments making the image look like it would if it were on display at the retail shops.

Below are a few of my favorite mock-ups and plug-ins.  Some are very easy to use while others are more complex.  You can find many more like it at GraphicRiver.net and CreativeMarket.com. They are my favorite places to look for great mock-ups and fun Plugins.  They help make my digital art look all the more impressive and I’m sure they’ll help with your projects as well!

If you sign-up for their newsletters you’ll be informed of their newest free downloadable templates, audio tracks, videos, mock-ups and plugins, just to name a few.  I’ll show you a few freebies in my video below that I recently received (yay me!).

There are hundreds of mock-ups from tablets and monitor screens, to t-shirt models and gift products with custom designs on them.  There are even mock-up models so that it looks like the person in the picture is enjoying your print on their walls, or the monitor in their hands.  Plug-ins can be SO fun and usually are so affordable!   You may find some free plugins and mock-ups in places like Deviantart.com (strong warning on visiting that site as there are many lewd members that post there).  Also, I’m usually leery of the free mock-ups and try to buy professional mock-ups that come with good ratings, and plug-in support from the developer, just in case I need help with the plug-in.  But as mentioned, freebies are out there for the taking as well.  Many of them could be given freely as a way to market the developers other nice products, so freebies are not always bad, I’m just naturally leery of them.

Some excellent plug-ins are as low as $4 and can go as high as $60 or more.  I use a lot of plug-ins for Photoshop and some for illustrator.  There are probably many plug-ins for other digital editing software applications but you’ll probably find the best options using Adobe Photoshop, in my honest opinion.

I hope these valuable resources help you in your pursuit of excellent designs, product creations, future sales and presentations for your current and future digital art designs!

Free for a limited time Photoshop Action and Mockup:

Not free but used in the video and really low cost for such a great end result!

Lesson Activity:  Research, Find and Favorite

It’s always fun to look around at all the digital art possibilities and dream big!  So I encourage you for this activity to look around using Google Search, GraphicRiver.net or CreativeMarket.com and find some great Photoshop plugins, actions and mock-ups that you would like to use someday.

I don’t recommend purchasing any at this point as they may have some instructions that are more complicated.  So explore and save the links to your favorites for future use.  You should be able to use them comfortably by the time you reach Lesson 20 or even sooner depending on the plugin.

If you search for a freebie try to download from a trusted, well known supplier such as GraphicRiver.net or CreativeMarket.com.  One of the last things you want is it to download a bunch of junk and your computer crashes or gets hacked into.

Please email me if you have any questions or if you enjoy my class. It helps me produce more classes like this and even perfect them as I chug along putting them together for you.

Stay tuned for more future courses on marketing, SEO and web design, helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs and those learning to be professional digital artists or graphic designers.

Crystal Calhoun

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